The Rios Adobe is the oldest continuously
occupied residence in California and is located on Los Rios Street.
Los Rios Street was named for this family. It has been occupied
by the descendents of the original family for over 200 years. Feliciano
Rios came to San Juan Capistrano with Father Junipero Serra in 1776.
He served as a soldier at the Mission for at least ten years before
his retirement. Rios married Maria Catalina Garcia de Romero of
Mission San Gabriel in 1793 and was given permission by the Mission
in 1794 to build a home. This was one of the twenty adobes built
along Los Rios Street.
In 1843 Santiago Rios, third son of
Feliciano was given a Mexican land grant of 7.7 acres within the
original grant (300 varas square) on which the house still stands.
He received this grant from Mexican Governor Manual Micheltorena.
This is the smallest Mexican land grant recorded. Mexican land grants
conveyed title to the land. During the 19th century the building
passed down through the family to male descendents. These men and
their wives are a significant part of the history of San Juan Capistrano.
Gregorio Rios, grandson of Santiago,
is supposed to have sheltered the notorious bandito, Joaquin Murietta,
in the attic of the house in the 1850s and may have provided horses
as well. In the living room above a display case is a trap door
that leads to an attic room where Murrieta was thought to have rested
between raids on the ranchos.
A renowned horse trainer, Damian Cosmos
Rios, son of Gregorio, often had individuals from England and the
East Coast buying their polo ponies from him. In 1927 Gertrude Riena
Rios, his wife, opened a restaurant, Casa de Los Rios, at the adobe.
During the Depression period the restaurant provided additional
income for the family which had nine children.
Daniel J. Rios, Damian and Gertrude's
son, landed on Normandy Beach in World War II. Daniel was later
the head of the Homicide and Robbery details of the Orange County
Sheriff's Department. He was well-known for his barbecuing and salsa-making
abilities. Many a barbecue was held at the Rios Adobe.
Juanita Rios Foy, sister of Daniel,
was born in the Rios Adobe and was the Matriarch of the City from
1986 to 1991. She was active in the Juaneno Indian Council.
The current owner of the adobe is Stephen
Rios. Stephen is a former Marine and was Executive Secretary to
Governor E. G. Brown, Jr. He was a member of the Native American
Heritage Commission and worked to ensure burial sites would not
be excavated. He is raising the 10th generation in this adobe.
The Rios Adobe was originally two rooms
much like the Montanez Adobe and has been added on and changed over
the years, depending upon the generation that as living n the home
at the time. In 1998 a two-story addition to the rear of the adobe
was added but did not change the adobe itself.
Private residence. View from street
...more History & Mystery on SJC.net
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